Dreams are best when achieved with the HELP of others.

Dear Writers. Dear Artists. Dear Music Makers. Dear Scientists. Dear Teachers. Dear Humans who recognize that it is not always easy to exist in this world.

So, years ago I met a magical beam of light called Peggy Dyer. She is a photographer, teacher, yogi, friend, inspirational rainbow.

I can spend chapters telling you all about her magic, but this is not about that. This is about helping her get her home back. 

She is asking for a little help. We all need it eventually, so we might as well do what we can to connect each other. Here are her words:

7 years ago I was homeless, living out of my 1983 Toyota Dolphin.  Life has been an extraordinary adventure these past several years finding my way back to my feet.

5 years ago this lovely little cottage became home through the generosity of some friends.  I’ve managed to bring it all back together, my business is back on track and I’ve had the great fortune over these past few years to continue to make my living as a photographer, teacher and continuing my healing community project, One Million Faces. 

Just when things were leveling out, a completely unexpected encounter left me on the verge of homelessness again.  The encounter was one of love, and of course a love that was founded upon faith and trust, and it was undeserved and I fell and fell hard and as a result I nearly lost my stability again.

Now I have an opportunity to purchase my tiny home, and there’s a deadline and I need a little help from all my friends to get the down payment together by May 1st.

Through my art that I love and give my entire being to, I invite people to share their messages with the world, to speak their truth.  I love watching people light up and I shine most when I’m creating art and community at the same time. 

But now I speak my truth and am asking my community to help me purchase my permanent home, to make this dream come true for me.

Thank you



day 24: someone else’s words

Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists. There is, there has been, there will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners — I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem that they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know.”
―Wisława Szymborska from her Nobel Lecture: “The Poet and the World,” 1996


sometimes we forget the ways in which we dent this earth

For Dan.
The Cuban-American performance artist, Ana Mendieta thrust her  bones into the earth to see what shapes she could make with the weight of her.

I often think about indents. I think about the ways in which we impact others or others impact us. How often do we actually speak up and share the ways in which our shape is changed by others.

When I am deeply moved by another, I tend to fill my lungs with silence. I exhale seizured language (shaky and discombobulated).

At a recent open mic, I was moved by the openness of a poet that seemed as though they literally dug into the crumbles of their scars and transcribed and transcribed. I opened my green notebook and began haunting the lines with language influenced by another. I should have told them how they moved me. How I wanted to turn off the microphone after they read because I just didn’t want the reverberations from their sound to be interrupted by another. I should have mentioned to them that it is so difficult to say how impact arrives.

It kind of feels like a dent. Like a gasp of life, bruising.

If you call yourself creative, then it’s fair to say that you’ve gotten roughed up a bit in life. It is in these spots of pain that often creates the surges of inspiration within someone.

This is why it is so necessary to say to another: you move(d) me. Thank you for existing with ink in your fingers and loose paper by your side. 

existence of gratitude

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life


Dear Dad,
You inspire me to remain. To acknowledge that sometimes we inhale breaths that are sour. That are tattered and raw. You tell me that there is a reason for all this…that definitions sometimes arrive long after we learn the words. You called me a writer far longer than I could pronounce that word myself. You remind me to give away my words. Remind me to keep carrying ink even on the days I feel like there is nothing to drip out. Thank you for existing. Thank you for continuing to exist.
[happy birthday]

on closing doors & finding new ones to open to let the light in.

Turn the knob either way and find an opening toward closure. Forgiveness is a language similar to music. It is instrumental and improvisational and often moves through several octaves.

Choose an evening to walk behind the moon. Follow it like a song. Whistle it into the seams of your arms and legs. Squint away the glow until all you see is you.

When you think about an other, think about punctuation marks. Is it an exclamation mark or pause of comma or does it end?

I am safely semi-colon’ing. What I mean is, I am finding a connection between my independent parts. And here, is forgiveness. I forgive the parts that seem to be misplaced. That is, I am finding their place.

Forgive the ones that haunt. The humans and the limbs and the gender identifying markers that do not match our minds’ messages.

Forgive past loves because they showed you other things than hurt. They showed you pleasure and kindness and the flash of safety.

Forgive your body because it’s the one thing that has remained through all the traumas and wars with others and your self. Even when your body changes, it is still yours.

Forgive the memories. The gaps. The flustered darkness that does not want you to remember certain things.

Forgive time.

Forgive loneliness because one day you may be in a dark basement or elevated bridge and you will find someone who…fills you.

Forgive childhood.

Forgive this moment.

Forgive men and even some of the women.

Forgive the cracks in your skin. Also known as scars. Or crashes of age.

Forgive all the silence in you. When you’re really ready, all of your noises will emerge and create the most exquisite soundtrack you’ve ever heard. Get your batteries charged. You’ll want to listen for a long, long time.

sometimes sixty minutes is enough time to feel like the earth is listening.

Once a week for one hour, I lose myself in the history of humans who are forty, fifty, sixty years older than I.

Once a week I travel near where I buy farmer’s vegetables and borrow books. This place is a residence for seniors and this hour is full of literature, creative writing and discussion of words.

Whatever I feel before entering the slightly overheated room, vanishes. If I am feeling sad, it does not follow me in. My emotions become theirs. I always come with a story and enough copies so that everyone who wants to can read a selection out loud. I always come with a prompt or encouragement to write. We always begin by marking the space with words written during the past week.

There are two residents who often bring their work to read. Stunning prose that captivates and causes even the hard of hearing to listen more closely. Often, I will bring a poem to read. One week, Adrienne Rich. Another week we gave space to Kahlil Gibran. This week’s poet, Juliana Spahr, birthed a heated discussion on intention; if prose poetry is considered poetry (where I found a large percentage of my tongue bitten off); and overindulgence with words.

To them, asking how are you? has so much more meaning. Eventually– I’ve learned — one reaches an age where fine or good is just not the truth. Sometimes it becomes: I miss my home and the things I spent decades filling it with. Or they put out the list of birthdays today and everyone seems to be turning ninety. I feel too close to death. 

I think about the last time someone asked me how I was and then I think about about the last time I actually answered it honestly.

Within these sixty minutes, I feel gratitude that I can be in this space and supply literature that we can all connect to and discuss. I never had much family growing up and now, I find myself attracted to those with many generations around them. They are lucky. They get to hear stories far past the hour mark.

One of my favorite residents shared some poems by a writer I was not familiar with. A Polish poet who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996. She died in 2012.


by Wislawa Szymborska

Despite the geologists’ knowledge and craft,
mocking magnets, graphs, and maps—
in a split second the dream
piles before us mountains as stony
as real life.

And since mountains, then valleys, plains
with perfect infrastructures.
Without engineers, contractors, workers,
bulldozers, diggers, or supplies—
raging highways, instant bridges,
thickly populated pop-up cities.

Without directors, megaphones, and cameramen—
crowds knowing exactly when to frighten us
and when to vanish.

Without architects deft in their craft,
without carpenters, bricklayers, concrete pourers—
on the path a sudden house just like a toy,
and in it vast halls that echo with our steps
and walls constructed out of solid air.

Not just the scale, it’s also the precision—
a specific watch, an entire fly,
on the table a cloth with cross-stitched flowers,
a bitten apple with teeth marks.

And we—unlike circus acrobats,
conjurers, wizards, and hypnotists—
can fly unfledged,
we light dark tunnels with our eyes,
we wax eloquent in unknown tongues,
talking not with just anyone, but with the dead.

And as a bonus, despite our own freedom,
the choices of our heart, our tastes,
we’re swept away
by amorous yearnings for—
and the alarm clock rings.

So what can they tell us, the writers of dream books,
the scholars of oneiric signs and omens,
the doctors with couches for analyses—
if anything fits,
it’s accidental,
and for one reason only,
that in our dreamings,
in their shadowings and gleamings,
in their multiplings, inconceivablings,
in their haphazardings and widescatterings
at times even a clear-cut meaning
may slip through.


alligator wine.

clouds drip away from the sun/ crowd of branches like/ skinny shivers of/ summer’s left behind.
One does not need to travel six hours to arrive at an end, but there is something about this clean air that allows room to gasp away these ghosts in my luggage.

On a Saturday night, a human with hair hungry like mine, screams out the intoxicated wails of alligators, drunk on the lust of wine.

I sing about home, harmonizing with the experimental strums of ukeleles and guitar chords.

There is so much beauty in being alone. And this does not need to be about loneliness. In fact, I am surrounded by an audience of stimulants. That grass darting out from beneath layers of snow like green, spiky freckles. That sexy hippie at food co-op. The flavor of this farmer’s market feast. This laughter, contagious and marvelous. An unzipped secret from front pocket because the space is safe now and so are the ones beside me.

On a Monday, I gather inside a room full of queers and activists. I share a story from my past, no longer present but still a part of me. Suddenly, there is a dialogue. Embrace of collarbones and tears. This is why we speak. This is why we create. This is why we travel.


this is why I teach.


I can name each one. Mrs. Herkus. Ms. Runquist (now Soback). Ken DiMaggio. Fred Cooksey. Maureen Owen. Bhanu Kapil.

Seventh grade. Junior year of high school. Capitol Community College (Hartford, CT). Smith College Summer Writing Program (Northampton, MA). Naropa University (Boulder, CO).

Each teacher inspired me. One drove me home one afternoon when I was forgotten and waiting. She kindled my love of words. She got me on stage. One told me I could poem. Like…be a poetOne slipped books into my hands that others would have banned. One showed me the importance of threading needles into words to create a new lineage of skin.

When I entered their classrooms, I was no longer invisible. Or the sad one. Or failing. Or falling. They called on me. They challenged me. They never let me get away with “I can’t…”

I ran from classrooms and never would have dreamed I’d be in one again. Especially as a teacher. But here I am, waking at 5am three days a week to travel underground to the Bronx to be inspired. All of my students are writers and I remind them of this everyday because I wonder if maybe no one ever told them this. Sometimes humans are left behind due to language barriers or communicative restrictions. Sometimes trauma takes away our voice. Sometimes it is the one who stands in front of us with chalk marks on their cheap pants and bags beneath their eyes from late nights grading papers who reminds us the importance of not giving up.



where the poems hide.

You are no plagiarist of dusk./ Nothing in the sky equals itself.          —Kazim Ali

beneath bonecage, behind mother tongue.

“everyone keeps rubbing their exoskeletons into you and. you kiss openly on mouths borrowed on Friday evenings, but.”

swinging armpit hair and she called my smell prophylactic.

that exit off new jersey.

mornings and mournings.

di prima. bukowski. gottlieb. sexton. rumi. rumi. hafiz. cisneros. the forests frozen inside remix’d notebook of dissinger.

hunger strikes and binges.

purge of lightening and bald spots of hipbones.

the weep of marriage in me and broken beneath cracked summer heels.

and in the water.

and in this stolen garden in boerum hill.

mix tapes.

red dresses.

spun webs of spiders and fathers.

“how can you not notice this as a sign as please kiss me now.”

hallelujah (all versions)


christopher park.

“oh, just place that over there by the mold and wait and channel the frisk of queer nudity.”

in thickest dreadlock crafted before storm called sandy.

sparks of her fingers calming the shake of your lips.

drug busts and sober.

midnight snack of fingers and batteries.

thirst of drunk brain and polyamorous couple climbing their way in.


and ocean.

and music MAker.

and that man who smiled at the LOVE scribbled into notepad on a Sunday in cafe on Bowery.

yellow tablecloth.

banjo ukelele.

table setting of historically intricate women woven by 1970’s political protest.

mapplethorpe’s bullwhip.

that boy in my bed.

prescription saved in wallet from April (ignored and dim).


bookshelves and breath count


leaf walks and braided limbs in autumn under yellow branches.

acorns which hop.

mothers who rash and remember.

humans who hunger for thought.

statement of poetics (part 2)

These poems are bodies and there is not just one way in or through. Bones are not all shaped the same, so why should poems be? Approach poetics as you would, skin. There is a hesitance, a whispered peek, a flirt of dissection, a rummage of sensation and texture.

These poems challenge form.

One is an index.

One is a dialogue between two voices finding their way in and out of each other.

There is a letter to a breast that haunted [a] fear of cancer; this tiny note is a response to an exhale of health.

There is an investigation of what may become extinct.

There is prose that touches on the entanglement of new love and thievery of muscular, metaphor’d heart.

If I removed all my clothes, would my nudity stand up for me?

If I explained all these poems in slow-motion footnotes and historical implications, would you understand what I really mean by: blue jaws travel[ing] between the moon and an ambulance? Or too late to intervention a grey skeleton shifting into hazel and charcoal and drown.

If Pollack were still alive to stand beside me at Museum of Modern Art and explain to me the origin of his drips, I would ask him for silence. There is a need to shackle the disclaimer and allow a poem to stain a page and digest the reader toward some kind of stir.

There is a poem encapsulated in collapsible framework used by nomads.

There is a cemetery of loss in the poem written during that time someone infiltrated my bedroom and stole all my photographs.

And that poem called abandon refers to the way a flower may weep once petals get plucked just for counting out love’s declarations.

I’ve been told I write about the body too much and what else can I say. How about I measure out the other discourses inside me not as native as my tongue to see what else forms.

I respond: it’s like telling skin to try shifting into another color. Or like suggesting to shave away the curves in one’s voice and choose another pitch. It’s like asking memories to switch channels. Pollack’s drips knew exactly where they’d run off to and these words emanate from the sermons solidifying inside me.

There is a poem which disembowels the shadow and how to locate the soul in each one.

So locate the scars and smell the aroma of translation. All of this is a necessity. It is no longer about choice. These poems reveal urgency and are meant to perform. I will travel. I will nude and transliterate. I will blur and I will queer. I will write because I must.